I Am That Girl Now

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dammit, I need new weights

We need to figure out a way to either a) carry 50 lbs of weight home from the nearby Sears or b) carry 50 lbs of weight home from the Play It Again Sports store a few city-blocks south of us. Because seriously, this is ridiculous. I'm certainly not feeling like I'm just waving around when it comes to my arms (although I'm going to have to go back to flyes because dumbbell bench-presses with 17.5 lb weights just isn't enough challenge for my bazooba muscles anymore-- flyes, on the other hand, will probably kill me), but when it comes to my legs-- like this morning-- that's a whole 'nother thing. Ah, the wonderful world of female biology. I've heard all my life that we're stronger on the bottom half than on the top, but never have I seen it in action quite as blatantly as now. My legs scoff at these weights.

Besides, I seriously want a bar, as in barbell. My brother-in-law has a whole set-up at his place (in the kitchen-- the joys of being newly divorced, it seems, are very similar to the joys of being in college), and the last time we were over there I kept poking at it enviously. Once upon a time my Hub said that if I kept the exercise thing up for more than a year, we'd think about getting more equipment-- well, it's creeping up on two years now, so a bench and a barbell certainly seem like a good idea.

I am just going to have to bite the bullet and do real squats, starting Sunday, because the challenge of keeping my balance will probably engage my muscles enough to make things interesting for a while. The tibialis anterior muscles are still (just) sufficiently challenged by going slooooowly. I've got a problem about switching out exercises for my hamstrings, though; I've been doing straight-leg/straight-back deadlifts, which works 'em lovely, but the only other exercise on my list for hamstrings is lunges... which, according to both ExRx's website and my personal experience, seems to be much more a quad thing than a hamstring thing.

Possibly I should start doing lunges for my quads (which seems a perfectly kromulent mid-point between assisted squats and "real" squats) and keep on with the deadlifts; my theory being that since the hamstrings are involved in some way in the lunges, I'll get enough work on 'em that that'll be enough for the moment. I'll just go slooooow.

Sigh. Grr. I'd bitch more about not being able to afford a gym, except that in my latest perusal of Stumptuous I stumbled across the part where she explains that weight machines are built for the average man, not the average woman, and certainly not for the short women. I'm 5'2", and in retrospect my previous encounters with weight machines would bear this out-- even after adjusting the hell out of the things, I still didn't fit quite right. What the hell, freeweights know no height. I just need a bar, a bench, and more weight.

Adventures in running: it was actually a glorious race day and I concentrated on enjoying the race a lot more than I concentrated on going fast. I also (very stupidly) forgot about making sure that I moved my legs like a normal person instead of pogoing around like I used to (and, under stress, still do), so my calves have been screaming at me ever since. And I made the mistake of eating a very filling meal for lunch, which meant that I started getting odd and crampy in my tummy about five minutes into the race. Oh well. My time was just over 30 minutes, which was disappointing since that's about a minute and a half to two minutes over what I've been averaging this year... but I did have a good time. So there's that.

Several of my friends came to the race, which was... well, really weird. I'm still feeling fat and cranky when it comes to running (MUST get these 10 lbs off; I run much better without them), and these friends don't do the running thing or, really, any kind of exercise. There was a continual "Next year we'll be in shape and do this race with you!" refrain, but last year they said the same thing so, honestly, I didn't know what to say in return. I just kind of smiled vaguely. I appreciated the support, but it felt like I was supposed to do better because they were there, and I didn't. (My Hub, by the way, saw this coming and headed it off at the pass, pulling me aside before the race to cuddle me and inform me that he was so, so proud of me for doing this, not because of my time but because I was just doing it, and so I shouldn't feel pressure from him to do any more than I could. Really, words cannot express how much I love being married to this guy.) I felt like I shouldn't have been all sweaty and drained after it (although, you know, that's what races do) when I came in over 30 minutes. I don't know, I felt like I should have been more impressively athletic if there was an actual cheering section.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I am psyching myself out. I need to stop doing that.

I need to go back to the fun runs. I haven't been doing it since it started getting oppressively hot, but I miss running with other people on a regular basis. I'm still horribly jealous of my sister, whose boyfriend and buddies all run, so she has a ready-made passel of running partners (and a very good reason to get out and going in the first place). I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and/or beating myself up over not being what I think I should be, and just go find the fun in doing again.

We're starting to prep for changing apartments, come May. Initial research and exploration indicates that we're going to have to head up the Brown Line into Lincoln Square, since a) the apartments are slightly cheaper thataway, b) the Western stop on the El won't be closed at all during the BL renovation project (as opposed to our current stop and most other stops on the BL), and c) it wouldn't involve a really dramatic shift in neighborhood (we'd still have the same grocery store access, main drag o' restaurants, et al). I am praying that, having selected a neighborhood, we can find something available over there for less rent than we're paying now, more square footage, significantly better closet space, electrical wiring, plumbing, and windows, a good solid place to park my treadmill, and possibly, if the universe is randomly kind, central a/c and heat. We're going to explore the neighborhood further and with a more specific eye toward finding possible buildings; we're also going to start collecting boxes to pack our unnecessary items through the fall and winter. We have a houseguest coming in next week and I suspect that after that we're going to make the spare bedroom into an official packing zone. By spring I expect we'll be living out of suitcases. Really, the two of us are freakshows about this sort of thing, so it's a good thing we share the tendency.

Anybody out there know ASL? I'm poking around trying to find a good class so I can learn how to sign. It's for research. Seriously!


  • Just a quick comment on Lunges. Personally I'd rather do about 100 dead lifts (fun for some reason) than 10 lunges. However, lunges are really darned good for you and will work the stabilizing muscles (adductors/abductors?)as well.
    By focusing on where your weight is you can change whether they are mostly quad driven or mostly gluteus/hamstring driven. Also, you can change the quad/hamstring thing by either stepping forward or stepping back.

    To keep the focus on hamstrings, generally step forward & keep weight on your heels. To keep the focus on quads, you can step back into the lunge & keep the weight toward the front of your front foot.

    One legged squats are also a way to work both depending where you keep your balance (heel or toe) you can shift from gluteus to quads.


    By Anonymous Cathy, at 11:18 AM  

  • Hi - just wanted to give another good hamstring exercise - if you have a swiss ball.

    Lie on your back with your heels towards the top of the swiss ball and your legs slightly bentt. Now lift your butt and dig your heels into the ball, rolling the ball a little towards you as you lift up towards the ball. You should end up in a bridge-like pose - balanced on your shoulders and upper back - only instead of legs being on the floor as they are in yoga, your heels will be on the ball and your knees will be bent. Easiest version - arms are splayed out to help support, slow it down to make it hard, cross your arms over your chest to make it harder still, one-legged is incredibly hard.

    No weights needed. Superior hamstring killer action.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:51 PM  

  • Here's a few more resources for you with both quad & hamstring exercises:





    I must say that right now I am doing ski squats for my quads, which are painfully effective, and don't require a gym membership or even weights. Just lean against a wall and slide down until your thighs are parallel with the floor (like you're sitting in a chair that isn't there). Then hold that position until your hair turns gray. Doing the BFL pyramid thing, I *try* to hold it for 50 seconds, 60 seconds, 70 seconds, 90 seconds, and 120 seconds.


    By Blogger Sioban, at 4:11 PM  

  • I just got a bar and bench and some heavier plates to add to my dumbells, and it does make life easier. although I now have nowhere to hide and no excuses... can you not order this stuff on the internet and get it delivered? my experience in the UK is that this is normally cheaper than buying from a store, and a lot more convenient if you aren't lugging the stuff home yourself

    By Anonymous Jane, at 3:40 AM  

  • "the joys of being newly divorced, it seems, are very similar to the joys of being in college" - LOL!

    I've found it difficult to keep up with the lower body too - since I've lost 50+ pounds, I'm no longer lifting that weight anymore. I'm at a point where my hands aren't strong enough to hold the weight my lower body can handle. It's probably time to move to a gym and use machines, but I've been avoiding it.

    By Blogger M@rla, at 5:51 PM  

  • Listen to your adorable husband! You *should* be proud of yourself "just for doing" the races! :)

    By Blogger Zara, at 9:37 PM  

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